Clinical characteristics of women with ADHD in Japan

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Purpose: Although gender differences have been reported in various aspects of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as prevalence, comorbidities, and social functioning, there have been few such studies conducted in Japan. Our research investigated gender differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of adults with ADHD in a Japanese clinical sample. Due to unique Japanese cultural ideals and expectations of women’s behavior that are in opposition to ADHD symptoms, we hypothesized that women with ADHD experience more difficulties and present more dysfunctions than men. We tested the following hypotheses: first, women with ADHD have more comorbidities than men with ADHD; second, women with ADHD experience more social hardships than men, such as having less full-time employment and being more likely to be divorced. Patients and methods: The subjects were 335 outpatients with a DSM-5 ADHD diagnosis, who visited our ADHD specialty clinic at Showa University Karasuyama Hospital in central Tokyo between April 2015 and March 2016. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were collected, and gender differences were compared. Results: Results fully supported our hypotheses: women had a significantly higher psychiatric comorbidity rate, were significantly less likely to be a full-time employee, and were significantly more likely to be divorced than men with ADHD. Conclusion: Consistent with research in other countries, women with ADHD have greater impairments than men with ADHD in Japan. The importance of understanding gender differences of ADHD-diagnosed adults within a sociocultural context is highlighted.

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Hayashi, W., Suzuki, H., Saga, N., Arai, G., Igarashi, R., Tokumasu, T., … Iwanami, A. (2019). Clinical characteristics of women with ADHD in Japan. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 15, 3367–3374.

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